Just a reminder

Now that Dr. Usman has been acquitted of all charges against him and is a free man, just in case ISPR starts whining about the justice system and the courts, let’s remember that the very upmost levels of the GHQ had a chance to review testimony provided by him and so is equally a party to his release.

Here’s the news report from November 2009:

COAS gets investigation report of GHQ attack

Tuesday, November 17, 2009
ISLAMABAD: The investigation report of the last month’s terrorist attack on the General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, has been dispatched to Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. During the investigation, most of the information was provided by Aqeel Ahmed alias Dr Usman, the mastermind behind the attack, security sources told Online. The investigation team, comprising senior intelligence officials, was constituted by the Army chief, the sources said.

The report said the perpetrators of the attack had planned to hold some generals hostage to get their demands accepted.

The terrorists stayed in Rawalpindi for a month to gather information and monitor the GHQ, but due to strict security measures, they could not get the information they needed about the GHQ, it said.

No high-profile terrorists were among those arrested from Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore and other areas of the country, but majority of them had assisted the perpetrators of the terrorist attack, the sources said. No Army man or employee of the GHQ was found involved in the attack, directly or indirectly, the sources said.

During the investigation, Dr Usman told the interrogators that they wanted to storm the GHQ on the day of the corps commanders meeting, so that they could hold two generals hostage to get their 100 arrested accomplices, including members of a banned organisation, released, the sources added.

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11 responses to “Just a reminder

  1. sparklingway

    He hasn’t been prosecuted yet for the GHQ case and was acquitted in the Marriott and another case.

    Besides the criminal justice system being weak, the prosecution deserves all the blame for illegal nabbing and lack of evidence acquits these people all the time. These idiots cry that the “judge let him go away” when infact they can’t produce anything more than their own oral evidence. B/c they don’t believe in the justice system, they never comply with it.

    For example, on September 10, 2009 the spokesman for the Swat Taliban, Muslim Khan, was nabbed by security forces along with a number of other Taliban commanders. Today it has been 257 days since his arrest, longer than seven months since he was captured and he has not been produced before any court of law. On January 31, 2010 a special Anti Terrorism Court in Malakand Division declared Muslim Khan among others to be a Proclaimed Offender (PO) and issued arrest warrants for all accused. It has been 115 days since that happened.

    None of the main accused has ever been produced before a court of law. Where is justice, where is the rule of law? All of these accused are being kept in the custody of security forces and intelligence agencies. Interrogating and torturing them will further bear no fruit.

    It’s time the legal system makes an example out of them. Our culture where might is indeed the right has proliferated too wide and for too long. If we cannot even conduct a fair trial of these terrorists, how can we claim to provide justice to ordinary people? By dealing with everything outside the law, we have nourished a culture of lawlessness.

    States worldwide make examples out of terrorists. Timothy McVeigh’s trial was a media spectacle and so was Richard Reid’s. India makes headlines every fortnight or so when Ajmal Kasab or his lawyer appears before courts. In our case, these terrorists lay in some interrogation rooms in extrajudicial remands.

    Under the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Ordinance (2009), even extra judicial confessions have become admissible in ATCs. What more do our law enforcement agencies want?

    Judicial expediency does not demand denying anybody the right to a fair trial. It is time the our society learns the virtues of the respect of law and starts dealing with everything under legalized procedures.

  2. sparklingway

    Also under the Anti-Terrorism Amendment Ordinance (2009), preventive detention upto 90 days that cannot be challenged but has to be produced before a presiding officer of the ATC or a District and Sessions Judge within 24 hrs. I can surely attest that none of the majors and colonels walking around in Swat know what’s the diff b/w a Civil Judge, a Sessions judge or a Magistrate for they don’t care.

    They’re bound to forward an interim report no later than 3 days after expiration of the 90 days remand,

    The most important thing that the burden of proof has been shifted to the accused.

    Even with all this, if the LEAs can’t get a conviction, then they should bury their heads in shame.

    Huma Yusuf wrote a very good account on this

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/19-huma-yusuf-trial-of-terror-suspects-950-hh-09

  3. Rabia

    completely agree with everything you’ve said. I would also add that if the army wanted these guys to get convicted, it would make sure that a conviction was achieved. If you read carefully you can see that justice malik muhammad akram awan of the rawalpindi ATC is often brought into a high profile terror case in which the military seems to have a vested interest in letting the defendant go free. (e.g. he’s currently involved in the benazir case, the zakiur rehman lakhvi case and he was the one who acquitted dr. usman & and his associates in the marriott case and the surgeon general case).

    Dr. Usman was acquitted in the Marriott case and the surgeon general case. There’ve been a number of really weird irregularities with him, like why was he released from custody after he he was picked up by the FIA for the marriott case… he then went on to allegedly do the sri lankan team attack & the GHQ attack. Then he was picked up by the army after the GHQ attack and they decided to have their own ‘inquiry committee’ which submitted a report directly to Kayani. So it doesn’t even seem like they ever wanted to prosecute him for the GHQ attack. That’s not negligence, that’s deliberately letting him go which raises major question marks about the entire GHQ attack especially because of his previous linksn to the army medical corps.

    so what I’m trying to say here is that quite apart from the hurdles that are traditionally faced in anti terror prosecution (bought prosecution, witnesses too scared to come forward, etc) there is also the larger issue of the military establishment deliberately sabotaging successful prosecution of terrorists probably to avoid opening any cans of worms about its own role in militancy.

  4. sparklingway

    He’s the judge at ATC-2 of Rwp and I found this report:-

    Pakistan on Saturday appointed Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan to replace Judge Baqir Ali Rana of Rawalpindi’s Anti-Terrorism Court 2 hearing the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks case.

    Rana had earlier approached the High Court with an application for the case to be transferred out of his court citing “unavoidable reasons.”

    According to reports, Rana had backed out of the case after receiving death threats from Lashker-e-Taiba (LeT) and pressure from the Government.

    The anti-terrorism court is conducting the trial of seven suspects linked with the Mumbai attacks, including LeT operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.

    Earlier in the day, the Lahore High court had shifted the trial following Justice Rana’s refusal to continue as the judge. The case has now been scheduled for further hearing on October 31.

    ——————————————————-
    So either the previous judge did chicken out, which is not unlikely for ATC judges face real threats or that he was asked to file his application to put in place a judge who would give judgments as asked by the powers to be.

    It seems really fishy that the guy is arrested, let go, then arrested again and now let go. The JITs formed after each high profile case involve the FIA, IB, ISI, Special Branch and sometimes the a police officer from the CID or the investigation branch.

    But in the case of the GHQ attack no JIT was formed and the military claimed that it was carrying out investigations on its own.

  5. sparklingway

    There are glaring disparities in the Musharraf Assassination attempt(s) cases as well. One person was sent to the gallows after being denied the right to appeal.

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/16-convict-in-musharraf-attack-case-denied-appeal-hs-06

    The PAF arrested 57 people in those cases:-

    http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/11-57-air-force-officials-involved-in-musharraf-assassination-attempt–il–08

    And the military had arrested dozens of its own as well.

    This report by Herald in Oct 05 is lying in my basement back home. I’ll try getting to it again. I remember reading that yet again the verdicts were handed out on highly circumstantial evidence.

    The whole Truth?
    By Syed Shoaib Hasan

    In a verdict handed down in August 2005, a field general court martial held at the Attock Fort awarded the death sentence to eight of the nine people accused of plotting to kill General Pervez Musharraf. Those convicted include Naik Arshad Mahmood, Zubair Ahmed, Rashid Qureshi alias Tipu, Ghulam Sarwar Bhatti, Akhlas Akhlaq Ahmed alias Russi, Adnan Khan, Ameer Sohail and Rana Mohammad Naveed. Shazia Mubashir, the lone woman accused, has been acquitted.

    As reported by the Herald in its June 2005 issue, all nine were accused of involvement in no less than five attempts to assassinate Musharraf. According to the details available at the time, the attacks appeared to have been masterminded by Amjad Farooqi and one Rashid Qureshi, together with several other men, most of whom had been arrested while others absconded. However, some new details have emerged recently that have thrown an entirely different light on those conclusions.

  6. sparklingway

    I’m not saying that the attempts on Musharraf’s life were staged but there was denial of justice and twisting of the law to expedite the prosecution.

    The military’s own justice system is weak. And while it has a number of lawyers that man its JAG branch, the judge presiding is a Maj Gen without any, whatsoever any, knowledge of the law, or how should a criminal trial be carried out. Not only are accused denied right to a fair trial, the guilt is presumed. Unless and until the military’s very own justice system itself becomes capable enough of handling its own internal problems, it cannot carry out trials of its own elements that flip sides.

    Perhaps they’re saving face but most likely the guys will end in a 3×3 feet box in a house near the Chaklala Airport and die a couple of years later after being constantly being tortured on drugs. I happen to have seen an alleged terrorist brought to a MO in Chaklala Garrison to be checked for his vitals. He was more than dead by that time.

    Field trials have been held for many years now, and of course officers carrying out trials have no understanding of the law nor any respect whatsoever for it.

    With the prosecution’s in the ATCs made so easy with the amendments, how they can not win case after case is beyond me.

    Either they want to let go those guys, don’t have the will to prosecute them, or just want to keep them in extrajudicial remands rather than being “hassled” by legal procedures.

  7. Rabia

    one main thing missing is the media pressure to prosecute terrorists and close media scrutiny of terror trials. Dr Usman, with all his alleged crimes should have been the Ajmal Kasab of Pakistan but instead no one in the media asked any questions – I guess some are on estbalishment payroll and others are simply not interested.

  8. sparklingway

    Qari Saifullah used to work with the dreaded mother of all intelligence agencies. How can they prosecute one of their very own sons?

  9. sparklingway

    F B Ali is the one whose act of threatening to overtake Rawalpindi with his armored brigade made Yahya step down. Shuja Nawaz has detailed it extensively in Crossed Swords.

    A very brief (two para) read on the event:-

    http://books.google.com/books?id=GiKm-ahTpS8C&pg=PA67&lpg=PA67&dq=brig+F.+B.+Ali&source=bl&ots=rVb5FfnquN&sig=Yq8K3Pt6Qpc6rxpcQArpbSYu3Do&hl=en&ei=46T8S6bPOYuKNOHh5N4H&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7&ved=0CDAQ6AEwBg#v=onepage&q=brig%20F.%20B.%20Ali&f=false

  10. STUKA

    Well, at least it puts the Hafiz Saeed release in perspective.

  11. Rabia

    thanks sparklingway. didn’t realize who he was! I thought his analysis was really spot on.

    btw, really appreciate your comments.

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